Author Spotlight: Dave Riese

Author Bio:


Born in 1946, I grew up in Arlington, Massachusetts. I attended Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, majoring in English literature. During my junior year, I studied English Literature at Oxford University and travelled in Europe. I wrote a travel journal as my senior thesis.


After graduating in 1968, I enlisted in the Air Force one step ahead of my draft board’s kind invitation to join the army and travel to Vietnam. I married Susan, my high school girlfriend, during leave between tech school and my posting to the Philippines at Clark Air Base. During this period, I wrote poetry.


Discharged from the military in 1972 and despite my lack of computer experience, I was hired by Liberty Mutual Insurance to attend their three-month computer training course. I learned later that the major reason I was hired was my writing and communications background. An English degree can be a valuable asset!


I began writing short stories, a novel and a screenplay, but wasn’t disciplined enough to produce much over the next 25 years. A job, a house, and raising two children took all my energy.


After 35 years in information technology, I retired from Massachusetts Financial Services in the spring of 2012. I sat down and had a long talk with myself. “If you want to publish a book, you’d better take writing seriously.” In 2015, I published Echo from Mount Royal, a novel about a young woman’s strange courtship in 1951 Montreal.


My wife and I moved north of Boston in 1974. Our daughter lives in Ireland with her husband. Our son and his wife are pediatricians in Rhode Island. We have four grandchildren.


Riese is the author Echo from Mount Royal, a novel about a young woman’s strange courtship in 1951 Montreal.



Book Information:



2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award:

  • Winner in the General Fiction/Novel category
  • Second Place Grand Prize Winnerfor all fiction books



Montreal, 1951. Rebecca Wiseman, 18-years-old, briefly meets a handsome young man, but has little hope of seeing him again. When Sol Gottesman tracks her down and asks her on a date, her joy mingles with disbelief when she learns he is the son of a wealthy businessman.


When Sol takes her in a chauffeured Rolls-Royce to the most expensive restaurant in the city, Rebecca enters a world of upper-class wealth and privilege unknown in her working-class family. She believes her romantic dreams have come true.


She soon learns that despite Sol’s outward charm, he lacks self-confidence. He reveals the simmering conflicts in his family, dominated by his mother and older brother. Rebecca wants to protect Sol, but helping him stand up to the pressure from his family, puts her squarely in the midst of it all.


Class, religion, family conflict and sexual secrets test their love. And then a late night telephone call changes her life forever.



Genesis of the Novel:

Before going to work, I’d often meet an elderly Jewish woman in the coffee shop downstairs from my office. We talked ‘books,’ sharing a similar taste in fiction.


When she learned that I was a writer, she told me many stories about her experiences growing up in Montreal before and after WWII. Her story about her engagement as an 18-year-old girl astounded me. She invited me to ‘write it up,’ thinking it would make an interesting short story.


Over the next ten months, I gave her chapters ‘Hot off the press” to read. When the 300-page manuscript was finished, she hefted the pages laughing, “This weighs more than a short story!” After a year and a half editing the book, it was finally finished In October 2014.







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1) Why do you like writing historical fiction?


I enjoy the challenge. Even though Echo from Mount Royal takes place only 65 years ago, writing the story took many hours of research:

  • What restaurants were popular
  • What toiletries and personal items existed in those day; when were they sold in Canada
  • What radio programs were popular
  • What current events took place
  • What social institutions were available


I was fortunate to have available the woman whose story is the basis of the book. She provided many details about Montreal. I had fun working in all the details that convince the reader that they are experiencing another world.


I love listening to the stories elderly people tell about their lives; I enjoy visiting historical places and tryiing to picture what life was like at the time. Contemporary life has so much that is unknown or unfinished. Historical fiction allows me to have a larger view of life and see the long-term consequences of human actions.



2) What do you hope readers will take away from your writing?

Most importantly, I want readers to lose themselves in the story and to end the book wanting more. I want them to live inside the character and experience a revelation that they understand exactly what the character is thinking. I hope they will remember the characters long after the book is finished.


I want the reader to experience the place and time of the story so intimately that they believe every moment is true. I want them to be amazed by a situation they’ve never thought about. Finally I want to keep readers slightly off balance so that twists of the plot keep them turning the pages.



3) Which authors inspire you?

I find Irish authors the most inspiring. The Irish tradition of storytelling has produced remarkable writers:

Sebastian Barry (A Long, Long Way, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty), William Trevor (Lucy Gault), Colm Toibin (Brooklyn, The Heather Burning, The Blackwater Lightship), Frank O’Connor (short stories), Roddy Doyle (A Star Called Henry), Brian Moore (Lies of Silence), John McGahern (Amongst Women)


I also find myself drawn to these English writers

Jane Gardam (Filth), Ian McEwan (Atonement), Magnus Mills (The Restraint of Beasts), Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway), Graham Swift (Last Orders), Graham Greene (End of the Affair), Charles Dickens (Bleak House, Great Expectations), Jane Austen (Emma, Sense and Sensibility.


And I must mention the American authors that I go back to over and over:

Edith Wharton (The Age of Innocence, The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome), Larry Watson (Montana 1948, Justice), Henry James (Washington Square, The Aspern Papers, Daisy Miller),

William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying), Chaim Potok (The Chosen), Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)


4) What are your favorite books of all time?

I find this almost impossible to answer, but looking back at the last question, I’ll pick the books that stand out for me:


Henry James (Washington Square), Edith Wharton (The House of Mirth, Ethan Frome), Ian McEwan (Atonement), Virginia Woolf (To the Lighthouse, Mrs. Dalloway), Graham Swift (Last Orders), Charles Dickens (Bleak House, Great Expectations), Jane Austen (Emma), John McGahern (Amongst Women), Roddy Doyle (A Star Called Henry), Colm Toibin (The Blackwater Lightship), Sebastian Barry (The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty)



5) Do you write under any other genres?

I’ve realized overtime that most of my short stories and longer fiction are based in some way on experiences I had in childhood through my early thirties (1950 – 1975) or events in the lives of my parents (1920 on) or grandparents (1900 on). I am not adept at mystery, horror or science fiction. Some of my work can be classified as YA. Non-traditional romance fiction is a genre that seeks me out when I’m not looking.


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